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The recent announcement that New York will have a separate menswear week in July, means that the men’s collections showing here this week will be under additional scrutiny. With such considerations in mind, it is reassuring to see Duckie Brown once again delivering a collection which reveals their mastery of cut, colour and form; demonstrating that its business as usual for the Duckies.
There’s often a body part, a focal point or implied movement being celebrated in a Duckie Brown collection, and this time it would appear to be the breastbone, revealed under sheer fabrics, in shirts worn pulled open to reveal the chest or framed by the “V” of a kimono-style wrapped neckline. There is something almost swashbuckling about this shape, the chest revealed under undulating layers of silky (often sheer fabrics), but without any of the fuss such an idea implies; this is pared back romanticism. The fabrics may be delicate but the attitude is forthright, the shirts created for movement.
The collection is punctuated with familiar Duckie explorations of reversed gender assumptions (“menswear inspired by womenswear”), in terms of the soft pinks, and particularly those silky fabrics that reveal the breastbone and add an instantly romantic aspect to top-halves. There are laddish, sportswear references in the blouson jackets, finding contrast but also balance with the funnel and kimono style necklines. Colours range from intense to muted and bold checks on both top and bottom halves suggest the elegant simplicity of the one piece uniform. The precise, high-waisted trousers seen last season are also here.
Across the European menswear collections trousers have been gaining width, weight and roominess, and this is a cut that the Duckies excel at. I’ve been waiting to see the perfectly proportioned, wide, pleated trouser and here it is in grey flannel, bold check and soft dusky pastels.
Conventionally, designers like to set the tone with the first look sent down the runway and the first look here told me everything I needed to know about what was to come. The perfectly judged black trousers and gauzy white shirt opening the show had an ease about them, a deceptive simplicity that was like an homage to masculine grace.